Sunday, May 29, 2011

PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES

Man, I can't believe how different life is once the season starts. I guess that's what happens when you haven't been in "baseball mode" for more than two years. Time works differently during the baseball season. I tell people all the time that I usually don't know what day it is, and sometimes what month it is. Although most people think I'm kidding around with them, I can assure you, right now is most definitely one of those times. There are no weekends during the season, so a Tuesday feels a hell of a lot like a Saturday, and since it's still raining everyday in Syracuse, it could possibly be February. It really is a strange feeling when everyday feels the exact same way.

I've been so busy lately that I just realized I haven't been on here in more than a week. I think that's some kind of record for me. I was on the road in Rochester, New York for four days and now have spent four days back home in Syracuse. During my time away from the field I've been working hard to lock down an apartment to live in. I've been in a hotel everyday since the middle of February, so getting out of one and into something that kind of resembles a house is a high priority for me. I'm hoping next week will be my last time in a hotel for a while. I can only hear "Housekeeping!" about two more times before I totally lose it.

Out of everything that goes on during the Minor League baseball season, there is really only one thing that truly upsets me, and it's happening tomorrow. It's plane flights. Triple-A is known to have one of the worst travel schedules of any league or sport in the country. Luckily the International League is a whole let better than the Pacific Coast League when it comes to travel, but every now and then we will have a trip from hell. Tomorrow morning we have a 3:30 AM wake up call to head to the airport where we will fly a connecting flight to Louisville, Kentucky. I'm still trying to decide if I should even go to sleep tonight after our game. I will probably get out of the field tonight around 10:30 PM, and by the time I'm done eating dinner it will be past midnight. It would probably feel better just to stay up through the night, but we have a 4:00 PM game tomorrow in Kentucky, so if I go that route I may be falling asleep at 2nd base during the game. Plus it's pretty tough to hit a little round white thing being thrown at you when your eyes are half closed. Anyways, although I will feel horrible for most of the day tomorrow, nothing will feel quite as good as when the game is over and I put my head down on my pillow later that night.

Well, like usual, I got to head out to the field for our game today. I hope everyone has a great week and I will talk to everyone when I arrive in Louisville!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

SYRACUSE

Hey guys, how are we doing? I hope everyone has survived the last twenty days of rain. I don't believe I have ever seen it rain this much in my life. Also, I don't want to jinx it just yet, but it seems we've also survived the end of the world. Slap hands on both accounts!

Right now I'm hanging out in my hotel room in Rochester, New York after playing a game against the Rochester Red Wings, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. After playing with the Harrisburg Senators for four games I was sent to play with the Syracuse Chiefs in the International League about five days ago. I officially feel like a nomad now, traveling around the country without a permanent home for the past three months. If only I could use my reward points at our team hotels. I would probably be able to trade them in for a new Mercedes.

I've been pretty busy during the few days I've been in Syracuse, mostly looking for an apartment to live in. I was debating between moving into an apartment or just living in a hotel for the summer since it is already almost June, but even if it's only for a few months an apartment will feel so much better. I can't wait to move in next week and finally be able to settle down.

I wish there was more to talk about, but all I've been doing is a lot of traveling lately. Thanks again to all the good luck wishes I've received since arriving in Syracuse. I think some of you guys may find out which team I'm heading to before I do. Very impressive. Anyways, enjoy your weekend and I shall talk to you all later.

Monday, May 16, 2011

WHATEVER TAKES THE FOCUS OFF YOUR HEAD!

Hello everybody. I'm back in Harrisburg, PA and had a few minutes this morning to make a video about being back to playing baseball, racking up my frequent driver miles, and my new hairdo. Here you go, and thanks to all of you that have been wishing me good luck!


Friday, May 13, 2011

QUESTION TIME

What's going on guys? I've been in Richmond, Virginia the last few days playing a four game series against the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Yes, I agree with you, that is possibly the strangest baseball mascot I've ever heard of. Anyways, this is my first time in Richmond and it seems to be a pretty cool place. So far we have split the first two games of the series, and I'll be spending another two days here before heading back to Harrisburg on Sunday night.

On a totally separate note, I wanted to quickly give you a preview of "The second most interesting man in the world" right behind that Dos Equis guy. Sorry ladies, but he's taken.




Lastly, I just realized that I answered a bunch of questions for Jessica Quiroli of Heels On the Field a little more than a month ago but forgot to ever post it on my blog. I guess it is still interesting to see how some of my answers about Spring Training actually ended up turning out now that it is over. Anyways, here you go. I hope you enjoy.


Growing up in Mass I'm sure baseball was a big part of your life. When did it shift to become something you wanted to do with your life? As a multi-sport talent did you feel sure baseball was the direction you wanted to go in professionally?

I think right around the beginning of my Junior year in high school I had a pretty good idea that I wanted to try to play baseball for a living. That was the time I decided I would play baseball in college, and my ultimate goal was to be drafted into professional baseball and hopefully one day play in the Major Leagues.

When I was younger I always wanted to play in either the NHL or the MLB. I actually thought I had a better chance of playing hockey for a living when I was first entering high school, but by my Junior year I knew baseball would be the sport I had the best chance at playing professionally.

Having played at every level of baseball, what's the hardest thing to adjust to? Obviously the pitching gets tougher, but has there been anything you struggled with the most?

I think every time you move up a level in baseball you have to adjust to a bunch of things. The game moves a little fast as you move up and get older, so you have to work on slowing the game down. You don't have as much time to do things so you really have to be efficient with everything you are trying to do. As far as hitting goes, you won't have as many opportunities to get that good pitch to hit, so you have to make sure your swing is right, so when you get that one good pitch to hit you don't miss it.

You've got a new opportunity with the Nationals and you have to prove your healthy. What's your goal out of spring training?

My number one goal is to stay healthy. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure my body is ready to go. My injuries so far have mostly been from bad luck, so I also have to get lucky. I feel that if I can stay healthy I will be successful this season.

Have you changed your approach at the plate since you were first drafted? What is the best hitting advice you're received in the years you've played at the pro level?

I have definitely changed parts of my approach at the plate since being drafted. I think you learn a little bit each year and you take those things and add them to your game. A lot of times the things you learn are more mental than physical. One of the big things I've changed as far as my approach goes is my aggressiveness. I've had to learn how to be more aggressive. How to look for a certain pitch, and when I get that pitch I need to put my best swing on it.

I've received a ton of advice and hitting knowledge since playing professionally. I don't know what the best word of advice was because there are so many, but I think the simplest yet most important advice is to expect that you will get your pitch to hit every single pitch you see. Seems quite simple, but it really makes a big difference.

What inspired you to begin the blog? Has it helped you as you've gone through all the different experiences?

I first started my blog because a friend of mine on my team had one and I thought the idea was pretty cool. I like to interact with fans and I thought it would be a cool way to do so. I also wanted to do it so I could let my friends and family back home know what was going on with me while I was playing baseball on the other side of the country. I have really enjoyed my time blogging and I've had the opportunity to talk with and meet a lot of really great people from all over the place.

Finally, what is the one thing you'd like to improve this season?

I always want to improve all areas of my game, but the one thing I want to be better at this year is my offense. The last three years I have either been injured, or if I was healthy I hit extremely poorly. I know I am a totally different player right now than I was during those three seasons, so I am looking forward to getting on the field and proving I can hit again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

HARRISBURG SENATORS

Hey guys, how are we? I haven't been able to get on here in a while and let everyone know how things were going because I've been doing a lot of driving lately. On Monday I had a rehab game in Lakeland, Florida, about two hours from our Spring Training complex in Viera, Florida. In the 5th inning I was told to change out of my uniform and jump on the van to head back to Viera because I was heading out to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Although I had traveled four hours that day, and had another sixteen plus ahead of me, it was very welcomed news. I got back to our home field at around 1:30 PM, packed up my stuff, and jumped in my car for the ride north.


I got on the road around 3:30 PM and drove until about midnight before I pulled over and found a hotel in South Carolina. I did manage to take an hour dinner break and watch the first half of the Celtics vs. Heat game. I guess I should have stayed for the second half and brought a little more luck to the C's, but I had a long way to go. I woke up early the next morning and left the hotel around 8:00 AM before arriving at our field in Harrisburg at about 5:30 PM that night. If you've never seen a game in Harrisburg before let me tell you, it is a beautiful stadium. It may be one of the nicest stadiums I've played in at any level of the minor leagues. I am really looking forward to spending more time in this area.

Today I made my debut for the Senators, starting at 2nd base and hitting second. As crazy as this sounds, it was my first Minor League game since the beginning of August, 2009. Even though that's almost two years ago, once the game started it didn't feel like I have been out of action that long. I guess I've played enough baseball in my life to remember what a real game feels like. As far as the game went, we ended up losing. Personally I felt pretty good and ended the game with two hits. I was just really happy that I ran the bases full speed a few times and had no problems with my leg. This is the first time in my life that when I get from one base to the next I give myself a high five and a congratulations for nothing bad happening to me during the 90 foot run. I guess it's tough getting old.


Tomorrow we are jumping on the bus early in the morning and heading down to Richmond, Virginia for a four game series with the San Francisco Giants affiliate. Hopefully we can get a few wins and I can stay out of the trainer's room. Talk to you guys later and enjoy the rest of the week!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

TORNADO RELIEF EFFORTS

Hey guys! I hope everyone is having a great week. I wanted to take a few minutes today to spread the word about this Saturday's Padres Wives Tornado Disaster Relief Effort to help assist the victims of last month's devastating tornados across the South. Here is all the info and I hope we can get a good turnout on Saturday.


PADRES WIVES

TORNADO DISASTER RELIEF EFFORTS

Saturday, May 7, 2011


The San Diego Padres players’ wives will raise funds at PETCO Park before the game this Saturday, May 7 to assist victims of last month's devastating tornados across the South. Fans are encouraged to donate clothing and cash to the help aid those affected by the recent tornadoes. The wives and players will be hosting a post-game autograph event with Adams, Bell, Hundley, Hudson, Johnson, Latos, Ludwick, Luebke, Qualls, Stauffer, and Venable. Meet and greet passes will be sold for a $20 donation (per person per autograph) and will take place post-game Saturday, May 7th at PETCO Park. In support of the sisterhood of MLB players’ wives, the Padres wives have selected the Josh Willingham Foundation, 501c3 certified nonprofit organization based in Florence, Alabama as the beneficiary. 100 percent of the funds and clothing will go towards the Alabama Disaster Relief Project to assist with the immediate needs of those affected and to the long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts.

GENERAL INFORMATION:

· Wives will be selling post game meet and greet passes, collecting clothing and cash/check donations

· Fans can make donations of either cash or checks

· Checks must be made payable to Josh Willingham Foundation

Josh Willingham Foundation
C/O Ginger Willingham
P.O. Box 2194
Florence, Alabama 35630

5/7 COLLECTION GATES:

· Home Plate Gate

· Park Blvd Gate

· Gaslamp Gate

· East Village Gate

5/7 POST GAME DETAILS:

· Players confirmed: Adams, Bell, Hundley, Hudson, Johnson, Latos, Ludwick, Luebke, Qualls, Stauffer, and Venable

· One autograph or photo per person per player

· Event will start 30 minutes post-game and to last approximately one hour

Any donation, large or small, will help. For example, $3 can provide a comfort kit for someone in a disaster. $6 can cover the cost of a blanket, $10 the cost of a hot meal, For $150, someone’s donation can cover the cost of providing food and shelter to a family of four for a day they spend in a shelter.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

BACK TO PLAYING

Hey guys, how are we doing? Yesterday I was able to play in my first game since re-injuring my hamstring two weeks ago. I played three innings in the field and was able to get three at-bats at the plate. Today I played six innings in the field and received three more at-bats. It felt great to get back out there and be able to get through both games without anything bad happening to me. I'm not yet at the point of playing without thinking at all about my hamstring, but we are still only two days into my rehab games. Tomorrow I will be playing DH, followed by nine innings at second base the following day. I'm still not sure exactly when I will be leaving for the regular season, but it pretty much depends on how I am feeling and if I pass all the tests without any problems. I will be sure to let everyone know how things go. Wish me luck!

On a totally different subject, has anyone ever been to this area of Florida before and witnessed "Love bug season"? I'm really not exactly sure if it is only this area of Florida, or all of Florida, or maybe all of the southeast, but I do know it is pretty disgusting. I'm not a big fan of bugs, or snakes, or spiders, or basically any insect, so having a thousand of them flying around and landing on me every three seconds is not one of my favorite moments so far in Florida. Here is a picture of our team bus on the way to our game today.



Pretty disgusting, I know.

Also, since I went a while without being able to do much on the field I decided to design some new cleats online. Let me know if I'll score some cool points wearing these guys when I get back out there.




And before I leave you to watch the Celtics play the Heat, here is a little video of what my reaction might look like it I hurt myself again, although I don't foresee that happening. Enjoy your night!